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Nail Art: An Emerging Trend in the Beauty Biz

Nail Art: An Emerging Trend in the Beauty Biz

Aparna Pandey
Aparna Pandey

In recent times Nail art has caught the fancy of makeup artists and makeup enthusiasts alike. But do you know Nail Art’s genesis can be traced back to 5000 BC? Archaeologists have found Egyptian mummies with nails that were thinly covered with a gold leaf or paint and fingertips tinted with henna. Interesting isn't it? Let’s find out more about how the nail art industry began, the current trends and the future aspects.

A brief history of the nail art


5000 BC was also the time when along with gilded nails in ancient Egypt, beautifying nails with henna was a common phenomenon amongst Indian women, and men in Babylonia were using Kohl to colour their nails.

It is interesting that archaeologists unearthed a gold manicure set, dating back to 3200 BC in southern Babylonia. These archaeologists believe that this set was a part of the combat equipment. The fact that nail art which in modern-day is primarily attributed to the beauty industry, has its origin as a war zone accessory, is definitely fascinating.  

The advent of Nail polish is often credited to Chinese women, who around 3000 BC used to give their nails a slightly reddish-pinkish tint by soaking them in a mixture of - egg whites, gelatine, beeswax, and dyes extracted from flower petals like - roses and orchids. Throughout centuries, nails painted red were considered as a symbol of social status. Only women from the rich and the elite class painted their nails red.

In the 20s, Michelle Menard - a French makeup artist, introduced glossy nail polish, by using car paint, this was available only to a limited set of people. In 1932, Revlon launched Nail Polish as we know it today. With this launch, the glossy nail paints were no longer restricted to a select few.


In the 30s, Nail Art was already gaining the interest of people. One of the widely popular styles of the era was - the crescent moon style nail art made popular by the famous American actress Joan Crawford.


In 1954, an American dentist, Fred Slack, broke his fingernail and ended up creating a realistic-looking temporary replacement for his broken fingernail, thus inventing the very first artificial nail extension. In the coming years, they experimented with different chemicals and materials to create artificial nails, forming the very first company dedicated to nail extensions - Patti Nails.

In the 1960s nail fashion moved away from the classic reds and pinks and saw a pop of colours with brands like Mary Quant launching shades like vibrant yellows, candy colours, pastel blues, and shades with shimmering pearlescent finishes. The 70s further continued this trend and in some way improvised it with square-tipped nails and the French manicure.


By the 80s and 90s nail art became a way of self-expression with many creative designs like pierced and heavily rhinestoned nails, finding their way to the industry. These were mostly credited to the African American innovators. The nail art industry as we know it today is heavily influenced by this time.


Over the next decade, the popularity of nail art only saw a steep rise with innovation, technologies, and out-of-the-world design patterns getting introduced.

In the 2000s technology started to play a critical role in the industry. In fact, we also saw Nail Technicians entering the scene. It is now a prominent career for many. The influence of social media brought nail art in front of millions and piqued their interest in this trend. In fact, nail art influencers have a huge follower base on their social media accounts.

Nail art - a shining jewel in the crown of the makeup industry

The global nail care industry is expected to reach USD 11.6 billion by 2027. This growth can be attributed to the increasing demand for nail art, artificial nails with artistic designs and neon colours, influence of social media, etc.

In India, the cosmetics market is expected to grow at a rate of 25% per annum and significant chunk of this growth is attributed to the emerging trend of nail art. Reports suggest that the Indian nail art business will continue to grow for the coming few years.

Nail art - an emerging business

The nail art business is emerging as one of the growing areas in the makeup industry today. The reasons can be attributed to -

  • Changing lifestyle of Indians, and their outlook towards beauty. People are experimenting with various style statements and using makeup, including nail art as a way of self-expression. In fact, nail art has become a favourite beauty hack across genders.
  • Investments needed to set up a nail art studio or just doing nail art from a small room of your home is less. Hence MUAs are leveraging this opportunity to set up their business with minimal investments as nail artists.
  • With the entrance of brands like Nail Bar, Nails Mantra, Nail Spa India, and more, much like the beauty industry, nail art is also becoming an organised sector. This has resulted in the growth of the nail art industry and increased opportunities for people interested in pursuing nail art as a career choice.


Nail art is proving to be a viable career option for many. With Nail salons burgeoning everywhere, the increasing interest of makeup enthusiasts in nail art and the rising demand for nail art as a service, a career as a nail artist or nail technician is becoming a popular choice for many makeup artists.

“Nail extension and nail art have a marvellous future… The women of India are hungry for new, revolutionary ways to look after their nails and my short time in India has vividly shown this to me.’’- Elmien Scholtz, founder-director, Bio Sculpture

Many makeup institutes are introducing structured nail art courses. This has further made it easier for people interested in nail art, to get trained in the craft and pursue it as a successful career.

Wrapping up

Every year the nail art industry sees the emergence of new trends including not just in design but in the technology that goes into bringing nail art into life. With the infusion of art and technology, nail art can be a creatively satisfying and viable career choice. At Vah Vah, we offer a comprehensive training course to make you an established Nail Tech. From basics of nail anatomy, fundamentals of nail tech to creating sophisticated nail art, our course helps you become a holistic nail artist. To find out more about the course details book your 1-1 consulting today.